Heinz Fischer GColIH OMRI RSerafO GCollSE (German pronunciation: [haɪnts ˈfɪʃɐ] (
|President of Austria|
8 July 2004 – 8 July 2016
|Chancellor||Wolfgang Schüssel |
Reinhold Mitterlehner (Acting)
|Vice-Chancellor||Hubert Gorbach |
|Preceded by||Thomas Klestil|
|Succeeded by||Alexander Van der Bellen|
|President of the National Council|
5 November 1990 – 20 December 2002
|Preceded by||Rudolf Pöder|
|Succeeded by||Andreas Khol|
|Born||9 October 1938|
Graz, Nazi Germany (now Austria)
|Political party||Independent (since 2004)|
|Social Democratic Party (before 2004)|
|Alma mater||University of Vienna|
|Awards||Order of Merit of the Italian Republic |
Order of Prince Henry
Royal Order of the Seraphim
Military Order of Saint James of the Sword
Fischer was born in Graz, Styria, which had recently become part of Nazi Germany, following Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938. Fischer attended a grammar school which focused on humanities and graduated in 1956. He studied law at the University of Vienna, earning a doctorate in 1961. In 1963, at the age of 25, Fischer spent a year volunteering at Kibbutz Sarid, northern Israel. Apart from being a politician, Fischer also pursued an academic career, and became a professor of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck in 1994.
Fischer was a member of the Austrian parliament, the National Council, from 1971, and served as its president from 1990 to 2002. From 1983 to 1987 he was minister of science in a coalition government headed by Fred Sinowatz.
First term as president
In January 2004 Fischer announced that he would run for president to succeed Thomas Klestil. He was elected on 25 April 2004 as the candidate of the opposition Social Democratic Party. He polled 52.4 per cent of the votes to defeat Benita Ferrero-Waldner, then foreign minister in the ruling conservative coalition led by the People's Party.
Fischer was sworn in on 8 July 2004 and took over office from the college of presidents of the National Council, who had acted for the president following Klestil's death on 6 July.
Fischer's critics, foremost among them Norbert Leser, his university colleague, have derided him as a career politician (Berufspolitiker) who has never been in touch with the real world. They claim that Fischer has always avoided controversy and conflict, even when that seemed required, pointing to Fischer's tacit support for Bruno Kreisky in his attacks on Simon Wiesenthal. On being nominated for president, Fischer said that he hated antagonising people and that he considered this quality an asset rather than anything else.
Second term as president
In April 2010, Fischer was re-elected president of Austria, winning a second six-year term in office with almost 79% of the votes. The voter turnout of merely 53.6% was a record low. Around a third of those eligible to vote voted for Fischer, leading the conservative daily Die Presse to describe the election as an "absolute majority for non-voters". The reasons behind the low turnout may have been that pollsters had predicted a safe victory for Fischer (past Austrian presidents running for a second term had always won) and that the other large party, ÖVP, had not nominated a candidate of their own, and had not endorsed any of the three candidates. Prominent ÖVP members, unofficially but in public, even suggested to cast a blank vote, which 7% of the voters did.
Honours and awards
Grand Star of Honour of the Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria (Austria)
- 2009 Florianiplakette of the Austrian Federal Fire Association in gold
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy)
Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry (Portugal)
Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spain)
Grand Cross of the Order of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (Finland)
Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (Hungary)
Collar of the Order pro merito Melitensi (Sovereign Military Order of Malta)
Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy)
Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (Norway)
Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim (Sweden)
Grand Cross with Golden Chain of the Order of Vytautas the Great (Lithuania)
Grand Collar of the Order of Saint James of the Sword (Portugal)
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France)
Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau (Luxembourg)
National Flag Order (Albania)
Grand Collar of the Order of the Condor of the Andes (Bolivia)
Order of Stara Planina (Bulgaria)
- Online, Wiener Zeitung. "Wiener Zeitung Online - Tageszeitung für Österreich". Wiener Zeitung Online - Tageszeitung für Österreich.
- "Neuer alter Präsident". Bayerischer Rundfunk. 2010-04-25. Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- "Austrian president vows to bring up Schalit case with Assad - Middle East".
- "External lecturers". Department of Political Science, University of Innsbruck. Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
- "Austria president sweeps to victory". Al Jazeera. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=357759&version=1&template_id=39&parent_id=21 Archived June 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "President of Austria Visits ESO in Santiago". ESO Announcements. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Bundespräsident.at: "Es kann auch das Standesamt sein" profil". www.bundespraesident.at. Archived from the original on 2018-07-10. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
- Portuguese President's website Archived January 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- Lithuanian Presidency Archived 2014-04-19 at the Wayback Machine, Lithuanian Orders searching form
- "L'actualité des royautés, "Henri et Maria Teresa en Autriche"" (in French). Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- Republikes, Presidenti i. "Website Zyrtar". president.al. Archived from the original on 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
- "The Epitome of Brand Success - The BrandLaureate". www.thebrandlaureate.com.
| President of the National Council
| President of Austria
Alexander Van der Bellen